March 26, 2008

I wish I were this artistically inclined...

For those of you who haven't seen it, here's my favorite newfound site, the Skull a Day blog. I already did my connect-the-dots this morning. And yes, I too sang the Pee-Wee song while finishing. Which I can't, unfortunately, find on YouTube. But here are the opening credits anyway.

Random aside, I always sing the countdown song while counting to 12, which I think must have been from Sesame Street. And involved some kind of roller coaster or a Rube Goldberg-like cartoon. Oh, here it is. It's pinball, and it's inexplicably by the Pointer Sisters. Huh. It's odd that I could find this in 5 seconds by googling for a string of numbers, but I failed in my search for a video of Pee-Wee singing, "Connect the dots, la la la la."

March 24, 2008

Hovering Hummels, Batman!

My mom just got off the phone with my grandma in Jersey. Grandma returned from staying for a while with my aunt in Vegas and ran into the man who lives in the apartment that Uncle Frank used to live in. So it seems that ghostly Uncle Frank is pretty pissed off at the moment. He used to just show up in the tenants' bathroom or walk through their living room. But recently, he's started having tantrums. The tenants say that sometimes when they return home, stuff has been moved and is in disarray. They suspect Frank. A week or so ago, the guy from upstairs was over for a visit, and they were sitting in the living room. As they talked, they saw a little figurine lift off the table and then go flying around the room. These stories are all related by my grandma, who's not the most reliable of ear-witnesses. There weren't any additional details - what happened to the figurine? Did it crash or fall to the floor?

On Friday, I'm driving down to NJ to hang out with my mom and grandma and see if we can raise Uncle Frank in a seance in the neighbors' apartment. It'll be like a weird inter-generational slumber party, but only if I freeze my grandma's bra and put my mom's hand in a bowl of warm water.

I will, of course, report extensively on my turn as a ghost whisperer.

March 21, 2008

Etymology of Insults

Between periods of game play in the NCAA tourney, we were watching some of the local TV commercials. One car dealer was extolling the features of whatever make he sells, crowing about how large the sale was. At the end of the commercial, to emphasize his point, he whipped out three yellow-on-blue printed cards and said, "This sale isn't just big, it's [card] Huge, it's [card] Enormous, it's [card] Mungo!" I made Patrick rewind so that I could see it again. Yes, he whipped out a giant Mungo.

Curious, I tried my best (read: spent 5 minutes) to find the origin of what I think mungo means: it's offensive slang for a mentally handicapped individual. I found that originally Mungo was a nice Scottish boy's name meaning "beloved." In the terrible cartoon Heathcliff that I watched sometimes as a kid, there was a cat named Mongo in it, so that makes some sense. My dictionary tells me that mungo is a "low-grade wool made from felted rags or waste." I also recalled that there is a Lake Mungo in Australia, the location of some important hominid finds, but these were found too recently to have lent their name to an offensive slang term. In all honesty, I had always thought that mungo came from a similarly offensive term, Mongoloid. That term, of course, was originally used to mean individuals from East Asia but became a racial classification in the 19th century and a synonym in the 20th century for individuals with Down syndrome.

Unfortunately, doesn't help at all. Definition 6 is actually "realy realy large [sic]", while definition 7 is the one I am used to. I seem to recall somewhere back in the early 90s the cool kids using words like humongo, short for humongous, but mungo? Maybe it's a regional dialect thing. Anyone have thoughts on this term?

If I can get a TV screen capture, I'll post a video or picture of the guy.

March 17, 2008

Bday Adventures

Bracketed by a cop pulling me over for speeding and running a stop sign on Monday and managing to break a toilet on Friday, I spent some time down south for my birthday and spring break. On Wednesday, I made tiramis├╣ for Laura, based on Marco's recipe. I even managed to find real savoiardi at Southern Season and sweet marsala wine at Weaver Street. I'm not sure if I whipped the egg whites enough, as the tiramis├╣ was a bit gooey, but it was hella tasty and surprisingly easy to make. Next time, I'll use my brand-new Cuisinart stick blender, which I'm far too excited about for my own good, to whip the egg whites. To top it all off, Juline made me this fucking awesome knitted skull purse. I thought 31 would be treating me well until one of the department secretaries today asked, "So, you haven't hit 40 yet, have you?" Oofa.

March 12, 2008

Greek Mythology?

Patrick took me to the Body Worlds exhibit in Baltimore for my birthday on Monday. In the first couple of rooms, I was telling him random bits of information about bones. This guy overheard and started talking to us - I think he was a grade school science teacher, making notes for when he brought his students back. As we got to the case with a foot, this woman came over...

Random Woman: That foot reminds me of mine. When I was in a car accident, and my foot was severed. There was blood everywhere. I just kept crawling around on the floor looking for my foot. The paramedics said I was in shock. But I definitely remember trying to find my foot. And all the blood.

Us: Uhmm. Wow.

Random Woman: You know the story of the Achilles heel, right? How it got its name? So there was this prince, right? He was called Achilles. And his mother was a queen. Well, she took him to the sorcerer because she wanted him to be abominable. And the sorcerer dunked him in a vat. But held him by his foot. So he was completely abominable except for his foot. And that's how we get the term Achilles heel.

Me (trying to stifle giggles): Interesting.

The random woman also decided to tell us the story of a deformed spine, but she couldn't remember if it was scoliosis, lordosis, or kyphosis. She went somewhere, conferred with someone, came back and decreed that it was lordosis. Which it definitely wasn't, since this spine curved laterally, and lordosis and kyphosis refer to unnatural anterior-posterior curvatures. It could have been severe scoliosis, but I think it was a different disease process. I talked to the science teacher guy a bit more too, until he started arguing with me over the cause of osteoporosis and couldn't remember the difference between osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Then I just avoided him the rest of the exhibit.

It was overall an interesting exhibit, although it didn't quite live up to the hype that I've heard about it for the last several years. Also, all the females were posed like dancers and yoga instructors, and all the males were posed like soccer players and skiiers. That was rather disappointing. I'm not sure I learned anything (and I disagreed with some of the information presented), but the bodies were definitely cool to see.

March 3, 2008

Kids say the darndest things

On Friday, I had to warn my second class that I would be kicking them out of lab on time in order to catch a plane...

Student: Where're you going?
Me: To California for the weekend.
Student: Really? You're "going" to "California" for the "weekend?"
Me: Why does it sound like you're putting quotation marks around those words?
Student: Well, my sister and I have a running joke. It's a euphemism for getting a boob job. So if someone "goes to California for the weekend" it means she's getting a boob job.
Me: Uhm. What are you trying to say about me, exactly?

It was pretty funny, actually. I just hope they all behave when one of the tenured profs has to come and sit in on my class.

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